Chiricahua National Monument + Ft. Bowie

We had to work in Yuma, AZ so we decided to visit Chiricahua National Monument and Fort Bowie. On the last big adventure, I saw signs talking a bit about Cochise of the Chiricahua Apache and I wanted to learned more.

We left Yuma in the afternoon (I had a lunch meeting) and made it to Willcox around 8pm. We passed some signs for the Dragoon Mountains (where Cochise called home), Fort Huachuca (where some Buffalo Soldiers were based) and Tombstone (where some of Young Guns took place) but we weren’t able to visit this time around. We booked at the Quality Inn right on the main street. The room was comfortable and the tv and internet were fine. The best part, was it was one of the few hotels that took our large dog. The manager was quite kind when he checked us in.

Chiricahua National Monument

We woke up early the next morning for the drive to the Chiricahua National Monument. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was closer than Ft. Bowie so we began there. It was amazing!

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My toddlers enjoying Chiricahua National Monument’s parking lot.

We have a National Parks pass so we never worry about cost, but I was surprised to find out that it was free. Perhaps all National Monuments are free, I have no idea. Anyhoo …  we drove to the Visitor’s Center where there was a small stream. My kids are in a superhero phase so they ran around the parking lot in their matching capes to the delight of …  everyone. Lol There were lots of older people present. Inside, the ranger seemed just as pleased to have two caped crusaders running around her small museum and giftshop touching everything. Lol

Since we had our large dog with us, we couldn’t hike. It turns out that those hills are full of predators (bears, cougars, etc.) so there aren’t many places NPS suggests you take your dog. We decided to drive up to the eight miles up to Massai Point and see what there was to see.

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The drive is gorgeous, if you like rock formations. We made it to the top in a few minutes and weren’t expecting much. We all piled out of the car into …  ridiculously windy conditions. Apparently, in this corner of the US you can tell spring has sprung once the winds pick up. It was a warm day but the wind made it so cold that my partner and youngest retreated to the car. My oldest wanted to hike a little so we set off down the trail.

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My youngest wasn’t having it! Lol They headed back to the car.

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It was so windy, I worried my little one might fall off.

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If you take the trail from the parking lot and go to the left, you’ll find a small watch tower with a magnificent view. My little one loved the short hike. On the way back to the parking lot, we chose the wrong trail and ended up going around the parking lot to the other trail entrance on the right. Since we were over there, we decided to walk (it’s paved) the short way to Cochise’s head and up to the exhibit structure.

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The whole hike/walk probably took about 20 minutes but the wind was ferocious! After being buffeted by the wind, we ran into the exhibit structure just to have a few moments of calm. The door was hard to open with the wind blowing against in and it SLAMMED when it closed. We weren’t the only ones with this great idea so we were joined by a family soon after. We holed up for a bit and then decided to make a run for a it. The walk from the structure back to the parking lot only took about 40 seconds. When you see the sign that says you can hike or visit the exhibit, if you choose the exhibit side there’s only a short walk up a few stairs and you’re there! Lol

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We made it back to the car where no one seemed to care. My partner was on his phone, my youngest was playing with a toy the ranger gave her, and my pup was lying down relaxing. We hopped in and headed down the hill.

Fort Bowie

To get from Chiricahua over to Fort Bowie, the quickest route is an eight mile unpaved road. We are in a little Scion XB and I wasn’t sure how well our stiff suspension and low profile tires would fare on the road. I called and spoke with Ranger Amy about it and she assured me that we would be fine. I was wary but we set off …

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8 miles on this road will take you to Fort Bowie from Chiricahua National Monument.

The road is full of red dirt at the turn off from Chiricahua. There are rocks everywhere. The sign suggested not going more than 35 miles per hour, but I stayed around 20 ..  just to be on the safe side. We have AAA but there is no cell phone service and we didn’t have a spare tire (it’s a long story) so I wanted to make sure we didn’t end up stranded out there. On the road, we saw two white vans. One sped by us. The other crept by us. All of us made it with no problems. I really appreciated that the road is clearly marked with mile markers so I could mentally count how many miles we’d have to walk with our toddlers strapped to our chests if this went bad. Lol

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Upon pulling into the parking lot, you realize …  there is no Visitor’s Center. The parking lot has a map, a restroom, and a trailhead. To reach the Visitor’s Center you have to hike the 1.5 mile trail through dirt, rocks, and shrubs. We grabbed the kids, leashed the dog, and headed out.

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At the half mile point I realized 1) we hadn’t brought the kid’s toddler Tulas and 2) the kids wouldn’t want to walk 3 miles on their own and 3) we were gonna have to turn back. We saw a few other families and groups on the trail. I considered just doing it but the thought of carrying my 40 pound toddler in my arms for 1.5 miles on the way back wasn’t tempting so I sighed and headed back.

The good thing to come out of it was everyone still walked a mile so the kids and pup were tired when we made it back to the car. We watered and juiced everyone and shoved off toward El Paso. It was a good day.

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Meeting Black Panther and the Dora Milaje at CA Adventures

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The Dora Milaje escorting Black Panther to a photo opportunity at CA Adventures.

We weren’t gonna get annual passes to Disneyland this year since we plan to be gone so much but then Black Panther came out. Then my kids LOVED the movie. Then Disney decided to bring Black Panther and the Dora Milaje (the adored ones) the Hollywood backlot in CA Adventures. Then my oldest started asking me about visiting Disneyland and seeing Mickey. Then my youngest started asking to see Pluto. It all adds up to …  we bought passes and spent two days visiting CA Adventures and Disneyland …  you know …  for the kids.

IMG_20180308_1511512We didn’t get to see the entry from the side of Guardians of the Galaxy, down the main thoroughfare of the Hollywood backlot and into the area next to Monsters, Inc. because we were waiting in line. When the music started and we saw the Dora Milaje walking with the Avengers truck …  I started tearing up. I know Wakanda is fictional. I know the Black Panther is a character started in the 1960s by two white dudes. I know I should not be this geeked about a Marvel character but ….  I couldn’t control myself.

 

2018 CA Adventures Black Panther Shay wrong pose LolThe characters were AMAZING! They all stayed in character (with accents) while talking with my kids and the whole family. At one point, Black Panther asked my oldest what his name is. When my son said, “Black Panther” he and the Dora Milaje exchanged a look like, “THIS guy!” Lol At one point the Dora Milaje told my son to always take care of his tribe. It reminded me of the part in the animated series when Black Panther took off his mask and told the little boy that he could achieve anything the Black Panther could achieve. I felt really happy and excited to have that experience.

2018 CA Adventures Black Panther wait ... YOURE the Black Panther Lol

We tried to buy some Black Panther merchandise but there wasn’t anything in Disneyland. In CA Adventures, you have to go back behind Guardians of the Galaxy to get to the giftshop where the bulk of the Black Panther merchandise seems to be. We got all the way back there to find ….  not much. The Black Panther costume wasn’t impressive (I’m not feeling the blue “vibranium” running all over the suit) and there were no Dora Milaje or Shuri costumes. There were no claws. There was one Black Pather figurine. Target had a better selection. There was a yoga-looking track suit that seemed Dore Milaje inspired ….  meh …

Anyhoo …  I’m glad we went and I hope they keep it for a while because I’d love to do back and visit Black Panther and the Dora Milaje again.

Hiking Cabrillo National Monument

After crossing the border from Rosarito, Mexico we needed a place to hole up before checking into our hotel in Vista, Ca. Since we have a National Parks pass, we headed to the Cabrillo National Monument with our two toddlers and our pup.

Dogs are allowed if they are leashed so all took off to see what we could see.

It’s a fun, easy, and quick hike so there isn’t much to say. Take a look:

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There is a part where you can walk out a bit closer to the water but you have to jump down a bit and climb back up. Our pup wanted to go but he’s heavy and I didn’t want to help my partner lift him back up.  #Lazy

My partner let the pup get down and when it was time to get back up, it looked like the pup wanted to climb by himself. My partner stepped back and … whaddaya know? The pup used his powerful legs and climbed up all on his own!  #Beasting

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After the climb. Good dog!

A good time was had by all. We can’t wait to return.

 

 

 

 

 

Bringing Our Dog from Mexico Back to the US

We spent a few days in Rosarito with our pit bull mix. Crossing the Mexican border to get into Mexico was easy but after reading some comments/blogs I was worried about bringing our dog back into the United States.

We had a health certificate and we had his rabies vaccination but I was worried that the shot hadn’t been administered long enough ago. We got his booster Friday morning before we left. Eek!

When I emailed the health folks in the US, the return email said that though they do require dogs brought into the US to have a rabies shot at least 30 days before arrival. The email clarified that that’s for NEW (or first) rabies vaccinations. Since this was our dog’s third or fourth rabies shot (he’s 8 years old) it was considered a booster and the email said we should be fine. We hopped in the car, gathered our children and our belongings, and headed to sit in traffic to get back across the United States border.

I timed it perfectly. We left Rosarito around 10am. We got in the car line to cross around 10:30am. We sat in the car line for about an hour (pretty short to cross at Tijuana). When we made it to the booth, the guy took our passports, walked around the car and said, “Oh! That’s a big dog.” I said, “Yep”. He handed us our passports, didn’t ask ANYTHING about the dog, and we headed across the border to grab some lunch in Chula Vista.

All that worrying for nothing.

 

Crossing the Mexican Border With Our Pit

We were bored in the US and decided to take a quick trip down to Rosarito. I booked a house with a beautiful view of the sunset. I mentally made a grocery list. I started packing our clothes and then I realized …  there might be some kind of requirements to take a dog into Mexico. Hmmmm ….

When I checked online, it said that our dog would need to have a current rabies vaccination and a health certificate from a licensed US vet. We made an appointment at our veterinarian’s office, got his boosters, paid $16 for a health certificate and were on our way.

Living in the southland means we visit baja California quite often but this would be our first time bringing our dog with us. I’ve driven across the border and walked across the border but I wasn’t sure what to expect this time.

We stopped in San Diego to grab groceries and by the time we made it to the border it was about 4:30pm on a Thursday. It was crowded. It was really crowded. We drove in our lane until we got close enough to see the border crossing. At that point, it turned into a free for all. I tried to find a car and stick behind it. Lol

As you drive through a lane/chute there is a machine that takes a picture of your license plate. After the arm lifts, you drive past a person that determines if you get pulled over for secondary inspection or not …  the thing is there are about 15 or 20 cars all going past her at the same time. I just followed the car in front of me and wasn’t looked at twice. I was worried since we had a thick-necked pitbull silhouette in the back of our car’s window. Either she didn’t notice or she didn’t care. We drove right by her.

As soon as you exit the inspection area, you can take the far right tollway (cuota) entry to get down to Rosarito and the Tijuana (tee-wanna) beaches. Once you cross the border, it’s about a 30 minute drive.

I’m wondering what getting back to the US will be like but the drive across the Tijuana border with our pitbull mix pup was easy.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is a TREASURE

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Since we were driving from the top of the US (visiting Glacier, Yellowstone, Little Big Horn, etc.) to the bottom (Louisiana and Texas) we had to go through Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas. Guess what we found on the drive? The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum! I’m not a fan but as a Black family, we had to go visit. It’s our heritage.

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I love how my son loved seeing everything. #Heritage #RepresentationMatters

I wasn’t expecting much, especially since I read online that you can’t take photos. I figured we’d go for 30 minutes to an hour, walk around a bit, and be done with it. It was much better than I expected.

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There is a wonderful, interactive museum that we really enjoyed. There is a great film narrated by James Earl Jones. The museum is laid out chronologically and focuses on large socio-political movements in history. It’s a really nice way to understand the need for, and creation of, the Negro Leagues Baseball teams.

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I learned:

  • Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first Black man to play on a white team the
  • Rube Foster was able to create a viable league.
  • The Negro Leagues was able to make playing baseball respectable.
  • There were clown teams were a thing (I only knew of the Harlem Globe Trotters)
  • There were all-women teams that people came out to watch.
  • The Kansas City Monarchs were beloved on 18th & Vine.

The last thing you see is a baseball diamond. There are brass statues of players at bat and full on bases one can round. My two toddlers LOVED running around the bases. We even took a few photos with each of us sliding into home plate.

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The very last thing you do is enter a small gift shop. There are jerseys and shirts and magnets and various other knicknacks. The three people behind the counter were very nice. When my youngest started screaming, they started talking to the kids to calm her down. They were very understanding.

The museum was in a complex with a jazz museum and a fashion museum. Next time, we’ll plan to check out more. The complex is on a historic block called 18th & Vine. There are a few murals, an outside baseball diamond, a few large art pieces, and a community center all in a few blocks radius from the museum. We also drove past a restaurant that smelled pretty good. It looked like condos were being built. I can’t wait to visit again.

The Money Museum in Kansas City

We drove to Kansas City to visit the The Fed and it’s Money Museum. I wanted to take a look since I’ve only been to the The Fed in Los Angeles. I was also interested in how my two toddlers might interact with the museum.

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Playing in the interactive hallway.

There is a whole section devoted to the history of currency in the United States. There is another section for a treasure hunt, of sorts, for older kids. There is another interactive section that let’s children, and those of us that are children at heart, put our photos on a bill of our choosing, open doors and turn knobs to separate financial education fact from myth. The last bit is a glass wall that allows you to look into the cash handling section.

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My kids running through The Money Museum like banshees. Lol

My kids are only three and two years old so after taking a few photos and running around a bit, they were over it. The Money Museum is on the first floor of the building that The Fed is in, so two little ones running around giggling loudly wasn’t a good look. Lol